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Sunday, 17 October 2010

What About Yellow?

Nature's first green is gold. We have this on Robert Frost's authority. Nothing gold can stay, he tells us. Gold flashes through our lives, but yellow has this way of lingering. Like a bad smell. Sulphur?
Yellow ochre is hydrated ferrous oxide, straight out of the earth. It couldn't be more stable. It seems more trustworthy and less dramatic than the electric cadmium pigment. Both are Required. I want to like them. 
But I have ambivalent feelings about yellow. Perhaps this stems from growing up through many snow-laden and long winters where yellow snow, when you are being creative and experimental, is a Bad Thing.
Colour is not absolute, that's its beauty. But what does yellow DO for us?
Is it a celebratory colour, or does it tell us to pay attention, and slow down? Sunshine or traffic light? 
In the right place, it's marvelous. But what about the immoderate use of yellow? Rothko can carry it off, but reproductions don't translate. Obviously Van Gogh and Gaugin bonded over yellow. And a Basquait makes yellow Necessary.

I'm getting over yellow, because sometimes it's as close as we can get to that elusive, ephemeral gold.


  1. Tumultuous yellow! You pile it on, cower in it's glare so you scrape it back, get a fleck of blue in it and end-up with a green like a garage door. The chances of going for gold recede with every shaky movement. Who's going to blink first?

    ...anyway, I'd just like to say thanks for following my blog, and that I really like your work. I think that every now and then I understand a little more of it.

  2. ...that should read "its", not "it's"

  3. Hi Jules, Thanks for following. I was fortunate enough to stumble across your blog and it was a happy moment!
    See you there.